Everything You Need to Know About Sustainable Tourism in Thailand

June 18, 2021
Riverhouse

One of the most popular destinations for tourists all over the world is Thailand. It is generally known as the “Land of Smiles” with good reason, given how warm people are.

Tourists on an international scale started arriving in Thailand in the 1970s. They did so using a path from England known as the ‘Hippie Trail’. After long periods of overlanding, they found paradise: hospitable locals, swaying palm trees, white-sand beaches, and amazing food!

Sustainable Tourism

There is an almost endless plethora of places to visit in Thailand. This is why so many people find themselves becoming repeat visitors. Tourists are very much welcome to locals, who look forward to sharing their customs and culture. It’s also beneficial to locals on the livelihood end of things, by way of businesses that specifically cater to travelers from other countries.

The Thai government has strong opinions on sustainability improvement for the Kingdom. It comes as they continue to see tourism’s positive and negative impact on the country. Some things they have done seem extreme for others, but it has certainly gone a long way in helping to keep things well and good.

Perhaps the most crucial example is the annual way the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conversation takes major steps in protecting the country’s heavily-visited regions. They do this by closing these areas down.

When Maya Bay-an island close to Koh Phi Phi-was featured in the movie The Beach, it was shut down. The government stopped tourist access in June of 2018. The crowds became unsustainable, to the point where the beaches needed time and space to recover. People came in the hundreds, which did major ecological damage. Marine life started to disappear and trash started to appear instead. As a result, the waters became polluted at a rapid pace.

Similar measures are being taken with other destinations, especially during the rainy season.

Smoking has been banned as a whole on some popular Thai beaches. Locals and tourists alike were prone to leaving butts scattered on the ground. Moreover, several health issues started to manifest from all the smoke. Given all that, the government decided to simply eliminate the issue as a whole. Even if you take on a villa for rent on the said beach, you cannot smoke.

The ban applies to the following areas:

  • Cha-am
  • Chon Buri
  • Hua Hin
  • Krabi
  • Phang-nga
  • Phuket
  • Rayong
  • Samui
  • Trang
  • Trat

Wildlife conservation also matters highly to the government. One of the best elephant sanctuary and conservation projects is Elephant Nature Park, founded in 1998. They have various projects all over the country, alongside Cambodia and Myanmar.

Conclusion

It’s key to note that we as travelers need to do our part to protect the countries we visit. Whether you rent a villa in Phuket or check into a hotel, sustainability should be kept in mind. That includes the wildlife, the environment, and the culture. The Thai government places high importance on sustainability, to the point of banning tourist access to popular destinations for nature to recover.

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